Car Team’s Catalina QuikSCience Award Trip!

The QuikSCience Challenge winning team’s prize is a week-long trip to Catalina Island. The official description for this trip on the QuikSCience website is: “an expedition for the students and their teacher or advisor to the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island. The one-week trip will include expeditions to different parts of the island, visits to laboratories at the USC center, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking.”

I say it should read “the best possible way to spend 5 days of summer of ’12

At 4:00pm on June 29, Team Marine joined the 2nd place winners from Hawaii’s Kamehameha High School to board a boat to the USC’s Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island.

Our first “actual” day started on June 30. We were given an orientation of the campus from the marine research laboratories to the touch tanks. We were able to hold a sea cucumber, a starfish sea star, and a sea urchin. We then set out kayaking, paired with a buddy from the Hawaii team, and rowed our way to Two Harbors with Terri and DJ explaining places of geological importance along the way. Snorkeling was a very, very cold, but nonetheless an unforgettable experience. We first wrestled with our wetsuits (an article of clothing that is extremely difficult to put on) and put on our snorkel gear. Terri led us into a narrow passageway to a cave and then we swam to the other side of the boat dock to see leopard sharks and bat rays. After all the energy-consuming activities, we were all ravenous and wasted no time devouring food for dinner. If this was an indication of how much we were going to eat for the rest of the trip, I was quite worried. At night, we had a plankton lab which consisted of observing samples under a microscope. Lorraine helped us with the plankton tow with a 80 micron mesh net. We were able to see bioluminescence when Lorraine ran her hands against the net. It was just magical watching bright sparks from bioluminescent plankton twinkle in the night.

Team Marine in the water before snorkeling began


Day 2 was more relaxed, yet still packed with adventure and fun. We took a road trip to Little Harbor where we went for a hike and explored the beach (all while being environmentally conscious and picking up trash and single use plastics such as bottle caps, straws, and foam). We then unleashed our artistic side with soapstone carving. I made a fish while others created a seashell, a shark, and a ball. We then took the bus to visit the island fox (which was very small, comparable to a household cat), a bald eagle, and a golden eagle. Along the way, we were fortunate enough to spot multiple bisons! Dinner was at Airport in the Sky, where some students tried bison burgers. Back at the USC institute, we headed out for a night snorkel. This time, I was ready for the cold; equipped with two wetsuits and a hood. We saw lobsters, opal eyes, and when we shined our torch in the water, schools of Senoritas and larvae would swim toward it. Even with my prescription mask, I couldn’t see very well in the dark and lost my snorkeling partner, Annie, too many times to count. However, the night life of the sea was fascinating to say the least.

Looking out onto the incredible view

The third day was the best day of this trip for me (with the exception of saying goodbye to the Hawaii team). We were definitely sad to see them leave and felt their absence. After a wave of goodbyes, we came back to the institute and DJ showed us her secret hiking trail, which led up to a Great Blue Heron’s nest. We felt adventurous and hiked further up the trail (DJ admitted that she had never gone past the point). It was a good thing we spontaneously traveled further, because we discovered the perfect place. It had a wooden bench that looked out onto the ocean. We also saw a pod of dolphins diving as they crazily chased after their prey. At Two Harbors, Team Marine went mountain biking on a trail that went past Cherry Cove. Thanks to this trip, I discovered my new favorite activity: paddle boarding. It was the first time I had paddle boarded and I was scared of falling off. Fortunately, I found my balance and headed out to the deeper water. I absolutely enjoyed all the activities Terri and DJ had planned for us that day.

Mountain Biking at Two Harbors


The last day for Car Team on Catalina Island was spent with the Bag Team (who were here for their one-day trip). Terri and DJ took all of us kayaking and upon Mr. Kay’s request we paddled to Bird Rock. It was a tiny island covered in bird scat with a small patch of green grass. There were sea lions resting there. As we got closer and closer, the stench was overbearing. We pulled the neck of our Team Marine shirts up to cover our noses and paddled away. This was followed by a short hike where we spotted a trail of bison poop and indeed we saw a lonesome bison at the top of the hill.

The amazing Terri (QuikSCience Program Manager)!


The past few days on Catalina Island was incredible and I’m grateful to Terri and DJ for always putting the students before themselves and making sure we had fun. Not only was this an adventure, but also it proved to be a great way to absorb information about the wildlife and marine life of Catalina. As I stood on the boat looking back at the island getting further and further away, I found myself realizing this trip had brought Team Marine members even closer together. QuikSCience Catalina Trip ’12, you will be remembered for years to come.


Written by Angelina Hwang


Catalina Trip

Tomorrow at 4 o’clock, Team Marine coach Mr. Kay, along with members Kalon, Ivan, Annie, Cassandra, and Angelina will be loading a boat on our way to Catalina Island. For roughly four days, we will snorkel, hike, and explore the island with the Hawaii team and Bag Team, as they join us on the last day of our trip. We are looking forward to hearing the other team’s projects as we will also be presenting Bag Team’s research to the group and Car Team’s project summary. We can’t wait to see what Catalina offers!

Team Marine’s Celebratory Party

On June 13, 2012, Team Marine held a party to celebrate our year’s worth of hard work and achievements. From the QuikSCience Challenge to the Annual Sustainable Santa Monica Student Art Contest, we had a successful year in raising awareness about plastic pollutions and tail pipe emissions. We celebrated by eating a cake made by Kellie Abbott. We would like to congratulate all of our seniors for their help and dedication to the team. Live sustainably.

The Rice Crispy Treat is a model of the 1971 Volkswagen Beetle, which has almost reached its completion stage in the electric conversion process. The BP oil logo with “Epic Fail” written below it, pokes fun at the gas companies for their past failures, including oil spills and lack of environmental awareness.


Written by Preston Kim, Justin Tavaf, and Angelina Hwang

Senior Stoles are in

About an hour ago, the 2011-2012 graduation stoles were completed!

Each one is 100% hand made with one of 5 different Eco-patches! A big THANK YOU to Evelyn Javelosa (Alexis’ mother) for making them all.

They all look great! Now our seniors are ready  to walk the graduation stage reppin’ Team Marine with style.

Patricio's Patch
Lilie's Patch
Cassandra's Patch
Maykel's Patch
Alexis' Patch

















End-of-year TM party!!

At the end of each season, Team Marine has a potluck party where we sign yearbooks, watch the premier of TM/marine bio slideshow, and announce the winners of the “players’ choice” and “MVP” awards.  Congratulations to Adrienne Hino for  winning the “players’ choice” award and Alexis Saez for being named this year’s MVP.  Even though the 2011-2012 season is over, Team Marine’s fight isn’t! We’ll continue to meet and do great things over the summer!






Thanks guys for such a great year!

Los Angeles has finally done it!


At about noon on Wednesday, May 23rd 2012, with a vote of 13 to 1 (Councilman Bernard Parks cast the no vote),  Los Angeles became the biggest jurisdiction in USA to do this! First there will be a 4 month environmental review of the ban, and then an ordinance will be passed putting it into effect.  Then, the large retailers have a six-month phase-out period before banning the bag, small retailers have a 12-month phase-out period, and all retailers must charge 10 cents for paper bags beginning a year after the program starts. This ban will affect an estimated 7300 stores! Go REUSABLE!

Great job LA, lets go STATEWIDE with the ban next!

Read more about the ban at


Check this out:



LA city-wide plastic bag ban!!

 At 10am on May 23, the City Council will make their decision on banning the plastic bag in LA City. Heal the Bay and the Clean Seas Coalition, along with other environmental groups will rally at City Hall before the meeting. Several Team Marine members plan to help in the event. However, we’re all eager to see the bag ban pass, so that other cities and counties will follow suit. HISTORY WILL BE MADE! So if you’re in downtown LA and want to support, go to City Hall at 9am and help! Don’t forget to wear BLUE.

City Hall (John Ferraro Council Chamber – Room 340) 200 North Spring Street  Los Angeles, CA 90012

Twitter hash tag:  #LABagBan

Related Videos:

Ban the Bag:

Plastic State of Mind:


Santa Monica Festival!

           On Saturday May 19th, a few Team Mariners along with Marine Biology students joined Mr. kay at  Clover park for the Santa Monica Festival. Here, we went from booth to booth and got to see/do lots of interesing things. Some of us even got to make trees out of paper bags! One booth was dedicated to the 2012 Sustinable Santa Monica Art Contest, where they displayed the winners’ work and had art suplies available to use. Team Marine’s entry of our “Trash Pier” artwork got Special Recogition in the 9th-12th grade contest. We saw some great artwork, and just want to congradulate all the other winners; everyone did a great job! Special shout out to one of Samohi’s own, the 9th-12th grade runner-up: Sarah Shin. We had a great time at this event, thanks SM!


Here are some of the other winners of the 2012 Sustinable Santa Monica Art Contest



Life Straws Recycling Event


On April 20, some members of Team Marine, along with Mr Kay’s Biology and Marine Biology students, held a recycling event. We collected recyclables including plastic bottles, glass bottles, and aluminum cans from around the school campus into trash bags. Students from Mr Kay’s classes brought recyclables from their homes also. Once all the trash bags were compiled into one area, they were then sorted into different groups: #1 plastics, #2 plastics, aluminum cans, and glass. After almost three and a half hours of sorting and tallying the recyclables, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that we collected 6000 #1 plastics, 237 #2 plastics, 3290 aluminum cans, and 634 glass bottles. The grand total from this event was 10,161! The money raised from this successful event amounted to $508.05 and with this we purchased 92 Lifestraws, water purifying straws, to donate to villages in Africa. This great achievement was due to the enthusiastic participation of Team Marine and Marine Bio students at Samohi. Thank you to all those who volunteered their time for a great cause and to Mr Parker, Ms Bartbell, and Ms Halley-Cox for their continuous collections!







Safe to surf?

While surfing last weekend, Mr. Kay noticed that he wasn’t alone…



Floating around him were various fragments of what were once single-use plastics. So he sat on his surfboard and collected as much trash that he could fit into his wetsuit. Kay collected all sorts of plastic ranging from plastic bags, wrappers, bottle caps, straws, to lots of unidentifiable fragments.  After school today, with the help of a few Marine Biology students, Team Marine laid each piece of plastic  flat and tried to cover as much concrete as possible to find the total surface area. While doing this, we made note of all the different recognizable brand names we found. They included: Doritos, Zip-loc, Reeses, Crunch, David sunflower seeds, Twix, BIC, Munchies, Kit Kat, Oreos, Gatorade, 7-select, Aquafina, Giradelli, Lays, 99¢ stores, Hersheys, Bimbo, Haribo, Corn nuts, Turbos, Life Styles, Air Heads, Cheetos, Pirate’s Booty, Penguinos, Fritos, Bakenetts, Sparklet, Orangina, Lucky’s, Wonka, FritoLay, Snickers, Nature Valley, Ice Breakers, and McDonald’s.


There were a total of 651 pieces of plastic that made up for 6.973m2 in surface area. Some of the plastic pieces had been colonized by algae/barnacles and there was one plastic bag that had a dead fish inside! The fish probably didn’t see the bag floating around the ocean, so it accidentally swam into it and when it couldn’t escape, it smothered. This can only mean one thing…